Jo has commented as follows:
"Ok, so I’ve not seen the to programme. But I gather the editing was, erm, done with artistic licence. These skeletons are from East Yorkshire, not Stonehenge. There is a single burial from Stonehenge of the same date, with very similar injuries. These skeletons were from the 7-10th Century (later Anglo-Saxon), and had evidence of decapitation, but no other injuries. The location and mode of burial, long period of use for the site and evidence of decapitation is suggestive of judicial execution. No idea where they got sacrifices or murders from. How do I know? I analysed and have written 4 papers about them. I was filmed (that’s me in the photo). I talked about a photograph of the Stonehenge skeleton, on a laptop. I’ve never seen the skeleton from Stonehenge…”
Mike Pitts complains about the "stupefying nonsense" trotted out by TV Channels that should know better, and asks: "What is wrong with TV? People are fascinated by Stonehenge. There are extraordinary stories to tell. Why make up such idiocies, insulting your specialists to boot?"
I'll go along with Mike on all of this, but I'll go a great deal further. He refers to "extraordinary stories" but fails to mention that many of them, accepted gleefully by the archaeology establishment, bear little relation to hard evidence on the ground. Where is the evidence for bluestone quarrying, or for bluestone transport, or for the use of bluestones at "Bluestonehenge"?
When last did anybody see a Stonehenge programme which took a properly scientific approach and which laid out theories as working hypotheses instead of "facts"? When last did any of us see a programme in which the programme makers subjected the archaeologists to proper interrogation or scrutiny? Over and again on this blog I have made the point that TV programme makers are partly to blame, in their ongoing obsession with spectacular visuals and narratives that "rewrite prehistory." But most of the blame for this stream of garbage rests with the archaeologists themselves, some of whom appear to have no respect for the scientific method, and who think that every now and then they have to "solve Stonehenge". The obsession with the narrative is everywhere, and the more spectacular and fantastical it is, the better. They are all at it -- MPP, TD and the rest of them -- measuring their reputations not by the reliability of their research but by the ratings obtained by their TV programmes and the impact made by their ideas in the media. The more column inches the better, since that measurement clearly has an impact on research grant allocations. Garbage in, garbage out. And as I keep on saying, they are the ones who write the nonsensical press releases.